On Friday afternoon, I lay down for a brief nap shortly after reading a post about blog linking and commenting etiquette at Simply Wait. I dreamed that I was blogging a response to it. It was kind of a self-reflexive dream, because the basic point of my post was that, while blog links are important to me, I’m really more concerned about linking to my dreams. And I included three quotes from recent dreams, each with a hyperlink back to the dream.
This point seemed so reasonable that I woke up fully intending to write the post for real. It was only when I sat down at my writing table that I remembered that my dream world was not, in fact, accessible via the Internet.
It kind of seems like it should be, though. It’s the original virtual reality, after all, millions of years older than the Internet. I can’t believe that I still have to wait until after I wake up to blog my dreams — that’s, like, totally Amish! After all, we can blog from pretty much anywhere else; Anousheh Ansari even intends to blog from space, according to the BBC.
I have lots of ideas of ways to improve blogging and online social networking that seem pretty obvious to me, though for some reason no one has implemented them yet as far as know. For example, it’s great that there are outfits like Technorati and BlogPulse to let us know who’s linking to our blogs, but it would also be helpful if someone could tell us when someone removes a link. As things stand now, a blogger might retain a reciprocal link to another blog for months before noticing that the linking was no longer actually reciprocated. With instant de-linking notification, you would be able to respond immediately, either with retaliatory de-linking or with abject pleading for the restoration of the link.
Taking that idea one step further, social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Zaadz could include a “former friends” category, complete with big, black Xs through each photo. That would make things much more interesting, don’t you think? A columnist in a college newspaper I was reading recently talked about her angst whenever she discovers that the number of her friends has just dwindled — say, from 156 to 155 — and she goes down through the list and can’t figure out who’s missing. It must be terrible to lose track of one’s friends like that.
Blog ranking systems are in serious need of overhaul, as well. There ought to be some way of recognizing not only traffic and inbound links, but quantity and quality of output, as well. Why should popularity be the sole measure of worth? Some of the A-list blogs I’ve looked at could almost be composed by a robot, so brief and formulaic are their posts. I favor a ranking system that would factor in such things as the over-all diversity of topics; the average reading level required to comprehend posts; the number of regular readers who are not themselves bloggers, as indicated by commenters who don’t supply blog urls; the proportion of posts containing information not otherwise available on the Internet (with the exception of information about the blogger’s cat or cats); and the ability of the blogger to maintain a regular blogging habit despite a paucity of readers, comments or links. That sounds eminently programmable, don’t you think? Whether it will ever be implemented, though, I don’t know. I’m probably dreaming.